First-Timers Challenge Established Novelists for Orange Prize
Jury, Louise, The Independent (London, England)
SEVEN FIRST-TIME novelists will battle it out against literary heavyweights, led by the Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, for this year's pounds 30,000 Orange Prize for women's fiction.
The first-timers on the 20-strong list include Monica Ali, the author of Brick Lane, a story of Bangladeshi sisters which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Two of her Booker rivals, the Canadian author Margaret Atwood and the journalist Zoe Heller, will compete with Oryx and Crake and Notes on a Scandal respectively.
Half the list are British or partly British authors, including the previous Orange contenders Maggie Gee and Andrea Levy, with six American or partly American, including Anne Tyler. Australian and African writing, including the latest novel by Gillian Slovo, is represented on the list, which was whittled down from 130 entries. The Orange Prize is unique as it is only open to women writers, who can be of any age or nationality, with works written in English.
Sandi Toksvig, chairwoman of the judges, said she had feared she would be sick when the boxes containing all the novels first arrived. "But it was a complete pleasure," she said. "It was like having a university crash- course in the modern novel. It's a fantastically international range and there are novels that deal with the full minutiae of domestic life to the broad spectrum of international politics."
Ms Toksvig said the listed authors ranged from "very young authors to women in the fullness of their lives. There are authors, such as Stella Duffy, who haven't yet come to a wider audience, but we haven't shied away from [established] names". A shortlist will be announced on 27 April and the winner will be chosen on 8 June.
The Orange Prize was established in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women and was greeted with scepticism by some - mostly male - parts of the literary establishment. But it has proved an intriguing addition to the round of book prizes and has had some success …
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Publication information: Article title: First-Timers Challenge Established Novelists for Orange Prize. Contributors: Jury, Louise - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: March 16, 2004. Page number: 11. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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